Australia's Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef are surely among the most impressive cruising grounds in the world.
Often called the eighth wonder of the world, Australia's Great Barrier Reef is an underwater paradise of atolls, barrier and ribbon reefs, stretching 1,500 km from Bundaberg in Queensland to Papua New Guinea. Most charterers, however, base at the Marlin Marina in Cairns, or at Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays group farther south. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing for 1,000-lb-plus black marlin in the October-December season are prime pastimes, as well as angling local rivers for succulent barramundi. Other popular cruise destinations in the region are the Kimberley Coast of northwest Australia, with its huge red canyons and rock paintings dating back 50,000 years, plus the Gold Coast and Sydney, the “apple isle” of Tasmania, offshore Norfolk Island, and spectacular New Zealand across the Tasman Sea.